Monday, 28 November 2016

Requirements before starting Snail Farm

Requirements before starting Snail Farm

Choice of Breeding Stock:

According to Udoh , Akanyung.and Igiran, (1995), like most livestock ventures, the success of a snail farm depends in part on the quality of the farmer’s foundation stock.
 It is recommended that the farmer should choose snails based on the desirable characteristics below:
  1. Good strong shell: Strong shells protect snails from their enemies.  Snails with cracked shells or thin shells should not be selected for a snail farm.
  2. Snails that fill their shell: The farmer should choose only snails that fill their shells.  A snail that does not fill its shell may be sick or it may have lost its water because of dry weather.  It may not grow well.
  3. Fully-Grown Snails: For his new snail farm, the farmer should choose only fully-grown snails as startment stock.  They are hardier and would produce eggs and baby snails earlier than immature ones. 
  4. Large Snails: The larger snails of any kind of snail will be neater, healthier and lay more eggs than a snail that is smaller.  The eggs of larger healthy snails hatch better and the baby snails grow bigger and faster.  The farmer should therefore choose the largest of the fully grown snails of the type of snails he intends keeping. 
  5. Same Kind of Snail: The same kind of snail should be selected for the snail farm.  The farmer may decide to use either the giant type of snails (e.g. Archatina achatina; Archachatina marginata) or the exotic small types (Helix pomatia, Helix aspersa ) . 
Never rear a mixture of small and large types in the same enclosure.  Their requirements and maturity periods are not the same.

Types of Snails to Farm: 

According to Awe (2003), only snails that live on land and are edible and should be selected for farming.  Some kinds of land snails habour parasites which can cause diseases in man due to the presence of harmful bacteria (Awa, 2003).  Many species of edible land snails are recognized in Nigeria.  The popular species of economic interest is the West African giant snail’s Achitina achatina.  These are therefore the recommended species.

Snail Eggs:

Generally, the eggs of snails are lemon yellow in colour and resemble small bird’s eggs.  The eggs hatch usually within 30 days.  Young adult snails lay more eggs than old ones. Where to get snails for your farm: The farmer can gather wild snails from nearby bushes for use in his farm.  He could also buy from people who gather and sell wild snails.  Snails could equally be bought from another snail farmer in his locality.  Snails bought from the open market should never be farmed.  These are of doubtful quality and may soon die shortly after introduction into the pens (Awe, 2003).

Feeds and Feeding of Aquarium Snails: 

Snails are voracious feeders and may consume about 10 times their body weight of leafy vegetable or plant material every day.  To be successful in snail farming, the farmer must ensure a steady uninterrupted supply of foodstuffs to his snails throughout the snail growing season (Awe, 2003).

Food Plants:

Snails feed on a wide variety of cultivated and wild plants.  Young tender green leaves as well as dead and decaying leaves are eaten.  Green leaves of Amaranthus, cocoyam, cassava, lettuce, cabbage, fluted pumpkin, hibiscus, are all eaten by snails (Awe, 2003).  Before beginning, the farmer should find out what plants his snails like to eat.  He can thus get information from an experienced snail farmer in his locality.  He can also with his lantern watch snails at night and see what they are eating.  Different plant materials could be dropped in the pen and by trial and error, he could find out which ones the snail would prefer. Fruit Trees as shelter and food Plants: Some fruit trees provide shelter as well as food for snails.  Banana, plantain, mango, pawpaw, sweet oranges, cocoa etc serve dual purpose of providing shelter as well as fruits (Awe, 2003).  Snails prefer feeding on over ripe fruits of these trees.  Ripe oil palm fruits, broken pods, seeds and seedlings of cocoa are also consumed by snails. Generally, snails usually hide on shelter plants during the day when it is dry and move to food plants to eat at night or early in the morning when they are wet with dew (Awe, 2003).
Other Feeds: Snails also feed on synthetic diets containing a good amount of protein, calcium and phosphorus.  An example of such diet is poultry marsh.  Wet poultry droppings, rotten vegetables and dead animals are all consumed by snails.  Apart from the items mentioned here, there are many other foods for snsils.

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